The Business Year

Cédric Le Rest

General Manager, Yas Marina

Mike Oswald

General Manager, Yas Waterworld

What are you doing in your first year to make people globally aware about your destination? MIKE OSWALD Marketing, marketing, and marketing. We are working heavily with our travel partners, […]

What are you doing in your first year to make people globally aware about your destination?

MIKE OSWALD Marketing, marketing, and marketing. We are working heavily with our travel partners, destination management companies, travel agents, and companies such as Etihad Airways to promote us in a number of source markets, such as Australia. We enjoy a high volume of business from Etihad Airways’ stopover program, as many people are travelling to London via Abu Dhabi. When you consider how we can reach many of these destinations throughout the world, it becomes clear that the best way is to do it with partners present in those markets. We work together with them and aim to do as much PR as possible.

Why should tourists come to Abu Dhabi?

CÉDRIC LE REST The waterways around the island are fantastic. The blues, the greens, the color of the sand, and aside from the facilities and activities provided, there are many markets and carnivals, which are fantastic. There is really something for everybody to do. It is affordable as well, and a place to enjoy with your family. Then again, if I wish to I can take an Aston Martin on the circuit and have a blast. My kids can have fun in Yas Waterworld or in one of the numerous play areas. And meanwhile, my wife can enjoy the beach, sunbathe, and relax. There is really something for everyone.

What challenges did you face during the construction of the park?

MO It was a very complex park to build. It took our engineers almost two years to design and plan the location of each ride—the way they interact presented numerous engineering challenges. The integration between the rides and designing the structure interfaces proved to be very challenging. However, the true magic is below ground—the water pipe plan is amazing and highly complicated. It took a huge amount of work, and the amount of pipes that were laid in the ground is immense. In addition, when designing the park the environmental consideration was of major importance, which incidentally also made it much easier and more efficient to operate. We installed a variety of equipment, from energy-saving filtration systems to pumps that use permanent magnet motors, which resulted in savings of up to 30%. Our filtration system uses around 90% less water than a regular one. This is tied in to central controls, which allows us to adjust the equipment in line with specific conditions. When everything is up and running, it truly is a marvel of engineering.

Yas itself has changed considerably over 2013. How has this impacted the Marina?

CLR The opening of Yas Waterworld in early 2013 was a fantastic addition to the Island and is adding to what we had already been doing. More and more tourists are coming to the Island and to Abu Dhabi. The city is gearing up for this influx, and new facilities are being built. There is, therefore, a far wider leisure offering for the visiting tourist. The opening of the Yas Mall in 2014 will draw in 25 million visitors each year. It’s fantastic to see the growth in the island since I first arrived in 2009 and it has become unrecognizable, as stage by stage the master plan has been implemented. The community here is growing as well as beyond the island in neighboring areas. This clearly presents us with an opportunity, as we look to attract people to the marina and island.

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